Dallas Takes Security Precautions for 9/11 - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Takes Security Precautions for 9/11



    Authorities in North Texas are boosting weekend security measures for the anniversary of Sept. 11.

    The Dallas Emergency Operations Center at City Hall will be open and staffed with police and fire department officials in the room.

    "We don't have any threats or anything like that, but we have a lot of events going on, and they'll be monitoring all that," said Kenny Shaw, Dallas emergency management director.

    The Emergency Operations Center was expanded and equipped with updated gear using a homeland security grant to expand its mission to include protection from the threat of terrorism.

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    "Before 2001, our job was primarily natural disasters, floods and tornadoes and that sort of thing," Shaw said.

    The 2009 arrest of Hosam Smadi demonstrated the potential for a terrorist attack in North Texas.

    A Terrorism Task Force assembled since 2001 tracked and intercepted Smadi, who was convicted last year of trying to blow up Fountain Place, a 60-story office tower in downtown Dallas.

    Smadi, who was caught in an FBI sting operation in 2009, was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

    He admitted to trying to detonate a bomb in the office building’s below-ground parking garage. The explosives, supplied by undercover agents, were fake.

    Dallas police cameras now watch that location and many other spots downtown.

    "We like that they're cautious," said Deborah Little, who works at Fountain Place. "In fact, the potential bomber came as we were moving into this building two years ago, so we’re very glad they prepare us and take precautions."

    "I think you have to be watchful now, and you have to be aware of a lot of things," said John Stadelman, who also works at Fountain Place.

    Dallas and Fort Worth police representatives decline to discuss security specifics but confirmed that vacation time was restricted to boost manpower on the street this weekend.

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport spokesman David Magana said police there are showing a "clearly visible presence."

    Magana said the big airport has been on a state of "heightened awareness" for the past week.